MILWAUKEE (WRN) Governor Scott Walker says there could be a dialogue about extending the collective bargaining changes under Act 10 to police and fire fighters.
Those workers were excluded from the law passed two years ago, which stripped the collective bargaining powers from most state and municipal workers. Walker told those attending the Governmental Research Association’s conference in Milwaukee Monday that police and fire were left out largely because of concerns about what would happen if they walked off the job. Although he admitted it was unlikely to happen, Walker said he was not willing to accept the risk that somebody could die because an emergency responder in a single municipality did not show up for work.
Walker said that didn’t happen though, and “now, for those areas, having seen that the world didn’t come to an end for other municipal employees and county employees, there might be a greater opening going forward” because they will be able to see that “things worked out.”
After his speech and questions from the audience, Walker did clarify to reporters that he has no plans to propose expanding Act 10 to cover police and fire fighters unions, but he would look at the issue if a bill were to come to him from the Legislature.
Walker’s speech to the conference focused heavily on his efforts to turn around the $3.6 billion deficit facing the state when he took office, and how the repeal of collective bargaining for most public workers was a key part of his strategy.